Longtime dancer to leave NC Dance Theatre

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Mia Cunningham, a dancer who has spent 18 seasons performing with the North Carolina Dance Theatre, is set to retire. Read more in the press release below.

Charlotte, N.C. - North Carolina Dance Theatre celebrates the career of distinguished principal dancer Mia Cunningham in a ceremony during its Friday, May 15, 8 p.m. performance of Othello. Cunningham, who has danced 18 seasons with the Company, concludes an illustrious performance career this year. Due to an injury, Cunningham will not perform in Othello. “Mia is the quintessence of what Dance Theatre is all about. She is brilliant in her diversity of dance styles,” says NC Dance Theatre President and Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Cunningham is a native of Texas and an alumna of North Carolina School of the Arts. She danced with the San Antonio Ballet, Zurich Ballet, various concert groups in New York City and toured with Stars of the Soviet Ballet. Cunningham, whose 18-year tenure at Dance Theatre began under the direction of Salvatore Aiello, performed unforgettable roles in ballets by dance legends Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Agnes de Mille, Alonzo King and Jacqueline Buglisi. Bonnefoux, Aiello and NC Dance Theatre 2 Director Mark Diamond created iconic roles for her in ballets such as Cinderella, Nutcracker and A Streetcar Named Desire. Describing Cunningham’s presence in the Company and her endearing connection with audiences Bonnefoux says, “She has spark and a wonderful spirit. She is a unique dancer, and Dance Theatre will really miss her.” Othello Deception, desire and paparazzi take center stage in Dwight Rhoden’s adaptation of Othello! At the Belk Theater May 14-16, Rhoden’s contemporary adaptation of Othello drops Shakespeare’s characters into a 21st century rock and roll lifestyle. “My version of Othello is loosely based on the music industry,” said choreographer Dwight Rhoden. “The story of Othello is the same, but I wanted it to be modern. I think people will be able to relate to the story because it could be ripped from the headlines of today.”

Rhoden says he set out to give Othello a musical theater feel with big production numbers. To bring this Broadway style production to life, Rhoden is working with composer David Rozenblatt, who has created an original score for Othello, and saxophonist Arun Luthra, who will perform live during the performance. Rhoden is also working with costume designer Christine Darch and lighting and set designer Michael Korsch. The evening of Othello will open with Nacho Duato’s Na Floresta (“in the forest” in Portuguese), last performed as part of the Innovative Works series in 2007. A plotless work to Villa-Lobos music, Na Floresta praises the beauty of the Amazonian rain forest and intends to communicate an intimacy and a feeling for nature. Tickets for Othello start at $25 and are available by calling 704.372.1000 or visiting ncdance.org.


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